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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

Federal judge rules lawsuits against Tennessee voter registration law can move forward

A federal judge Monday refused to dismiss a legal challenge to test Tennessee’s new voter registration laws taking effect next month.

A federal judge Monday refused to dismiss a legal challenge to test Tennessee’s new voter registration laws taking effect next month.

The judge harshly criticized the law which fines groups up to $10,000 for submitting substantial numbers of incomplete voter registration forms. The bill also outlaws out-of-state poll watchers.

The judge ruled the law would likely create a “chilling effect” on organizations and individuals who seek to register new voters, not to mention there are already laws on the books punishing election fraud.

“We got hundreds of forms that had no address, we had thousands of forms that we couldn’t read, we had forms with fictitious addresses, we had things come in stacks that had been clearly filled out by the same person. So, that’s what this law is intended to prevent,” said Linda Phillips, administrator of elections for Shelby County.

The law is believed to be the first in the nation to fine groups for too many incomplete registration forms